CCSD announces safety policy updates

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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Chambers County School District Superintendent Casey Chambley discussed several school safety policies and updates that will be implemented Tuesday during the 2022-2023 school year at the institute teacher seminar and training. These updates will include new policies revolving around locking doors and reporting concerning behavior.

Chambley said school safety has always been a large focus of his career as a school administrator but noted that today it’s even more vital.

“School safety is a passion of mine, and many of you know that I have been working in school safety for probably 15 years,” Chambley said. “It’s really a shame in today’s time that we have to spend so much money and so much time to protect our children, but we do and all of you watch the news and you understand what we’re dealing with right now and what we deal with in our schools.”

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The first update that Chambley discussed was an new policy revolving around the locking of doors. Starting in the fall, teachers will be required to keep their classroom doors locked at all times.

“Doors must be locked, no questions asked. I know it is inconvenient, however we have to try and create a barrier in the case that someone tries to get in our buildings because our buildings are older.”

Furthermore, Chambley noted that propping open exterior doors, even if it is only for temporary reaccess into a school building, will be considered a terminating offense for teachers and school staff.

“There is no reason in the world that you prop a door open,” he said. “If it means that [teachers] have to walk around the building or call someone to let you in, that is what you are going to have to do … We have to keep our students safe.”

Chambley also encouraged teachers to be more mindful about the mental well-being of students in their classroom and to report any concerns, regardless of how insignificant they may seem.

“COVID has not helped with the mental health of students; isolation for students with social issues has made it a lot worse,” he said. “However, a lot of times there are signs and things that come up, so if you see something in their body language, on their social media, if they say certain things, tell someone so we can investigate it and look into it.”

Also related to the health and wellness of students, Chambley discussed the growing problem of vaping, which has started to affect students from high school to as young as fifth grade.

“Vaping is a major issue, and has become probably a larger issue with schools and school systems than COVID has,” Chambley said. “One of the major issues we are finding with vapes is that we have middle school and elementary kids, fifth graders, bringing vapes from home and allowing their classmates to use them.”

Chambley urged teachers to be more diligent in watching out for students who are vaping or sharing vapes with other students. He noted that nicotine is one of the most addictive and easiest-to-access gateway substances that students can get access to, making it a challenge to keep under control.

“It doesn’t matter what the consequences are, it doesn’t matter how much you suspend them,  how much regulated sports athletics they don’t play, [students] are going to vape because they are addicted to it and because their body craves it,” Chambley said.